Newcastle’s start the campaign has been nothing short of disastrous collectively, the team picking up just three points from eight matches and losing 6-1 to Manchester City in their last outing.
However, not all of the Newcastle players have performed terribly. Summer signing Mbemba in contrast has been one of the team’s few bright sparks in the opening two months of the campaign.
The young centre-back joined the club from Anderlecht boasting a pretty good reputation in Belgium as an all-round defender capable of strong challenges, dominating aerially and solid in possession.
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As per the table provided by Opta, another key area of his game which has been highlighted is his positional sense and awareness, illustrated by his ability to intercept regularly.
Mbemba currently tops the Premier League’s charts as the best centre-back thus far in terms of interceptions, yet he falls four short of overall leader Jordan Amavi.
Aston Villa are another club struggling at the wrong end of the table, yet their French left-back has been among the best fullbacks in the league and can consider himself rather unlucky not to have received a full France call-up this week.
Amavi has impressed in his ability to get forward and provide genuine width in attacking phases, yet his defending – albeit his error against Crystal Palace - has for the most part been good too.
As demonstrated in the table above, Amavi currently tops the charts in terms of interceptions and has produced four more than the next best full-back, Tottenham Hotspur’s Kyle Walker.